Shin Sekai Yori

Shin Sekai Yori

Kiroumaru, never forget ;_;7

One of the most amazingly done shows of the past six months is, without a doubt, Shin Sekai Yori. Based on a novel (not the “light” ones!) by Yusuke Kishi, the series is set in a speculative future 1000 years ahead where humans with psychokinetic powers have displaced all normal humans and built up their own unique civilization based on rustic living with nature and centered around “Cantus”. The story follows the idyllic (initially) lives of five young children born in this society, but soon enough, they discover that not all is what it seems…

Coming from an author well-known for horror, Shinsekai Yori is not the typical “scares in the dark” horror (although it certainly does employ them effectively), but more of a slow, building trepidation that nothing is truly sacred for this group of kids living in a society that has been utterly traumatized by a force of nature too strong to effectively control, but can only be kept at bay with drastic measures.

This is truly where the series exceeds in, at the world-building of this dystopian utopia, set in a world where both external and internal threats abound and where only the most high-handed measures may be slightly effective at keeping everyone safe. As well as how all that changes the perception and ethics of the humans living in this sort of situation.

Shin Sekai Yori does not shy away from a lot of controversial issues and gives a stunningly effective social commentary on the lengths what humans can and would do when in a situation so dire at times that they are forced to utterly change themselves and even occasionally deny the most important biological impulse we have. And frankly, any show that manages to make people root for the genocide-committting “non-humans” over the humans is truly something that warrants a watch.

Nowadays, I rarely recommend shows publicly due to my belief that anime fans are all very opinionated people and will discover what their likes are naturally from much more organic means, but Shin Sekai Yori is one of those shows that had split hairs with the community at large early on due to some controversial scenes and patchy production consistency. Thus, I write this in the belief that my voice may help more people discover this hidden gem. Really, do give it a try. And hopefully, it will give you some of the best food for thought that an anime series can give you.

P.S. I really hope that the original work gets an English adaptation and if you do too, please try to support this endeavor by Vertical Inc. to bring it to the English-speaking major markets.

27 Comments

  1. SnooSnoo Said,

    March 24, 2013 @ 5:23 pm

    That council at the end was really depressing. Then again I wonder how Squealer discovered they were humans if the false minoshiro were programmed to not divulge that piece of information.

  2. anonon Said,

    March 24, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

    That ending where Saki talks to the living flesh of Squealer…
    just icing on this masterpiece cake. ;-;

    I wonder if Saki forgot that Squealer killed her best friends Maria&Satoru then raised their child to be a bakenezumi weapon (??) I would still be angry over that.

    Also did they find the kidnapped babies? (Not that it matters anymore that Squealer’s out of the picture, but closure is nice.)

  3. NaturalSpeaking Said,

    March 24, 2013 @ 5:49 pm

    I’m using MyAnimeList to check off and rank Shin Sekai Yori, and I feel bad for having it as the same rank as and even comparing it with other animes.

    I actually have to rank down everything else, so that Shin Sekai Yori can be at 10/10 alone.

  4. Troggy Hordesman Said,

    March 24, 2013 @ 5:58 pm

    Dropped it after the first episode due to the introduced main character apparently getting killed off by a cat. A cat. Wasted my time with a dead meat and then killed off in a silly fashion. Nope, no thanks.

  5. BP Said,

    March 24, 2013 @ 6:03 pm

    We’re all sure you are capable of holding your grounds against a lion with your bare hands

  6. Kurogane Shiroikaze Said,

    March 24, 2013 @ 6:10 pm

    >Reiko
    >main character

    ヽ( >∀<)ノ AHAHA AHAHA AHAHAHAHA

  7. Troggy Hordesman Said,

    March 24, 2013 @ 6:27 pm

    BP, lions are massive predators. But I am sure you run away from a kitten just to be sure it’s not a lion.

    And I am never gonna waste my time on a series that kills off a character introduced as a main character for shock value. That belongs in exploitation. Shiki did it right, by building up the imminent death properly, here it just came off as an awkward attempt at shock value, which it didn’t achieve, just a “meh”. If you kill off characters like that, I won’t stay invested because they are going to die in 20 minutes anyway. Ga-rei Zero and Another did the same thing, and I couldn’t stay invested in anyone.

    It’s pretty bad when a supposed accomplished writer can’t pull you in the first 20 minutes, especially by resulting in the use of immersion killing techniques and silly cat monsters.

  8. Wilco Said,

    March 24, 2013 @ 6:32 pm

    Just have to say this first but dystopian utopia is an oxymoron and I would call it a flawed utopia. But besides for that I really did enjoyed the series.

  9. Fadeway Said,

    March 24, 2013 @ 6:46 pm

    Squealer, never forget;

    ^though Kiromaru was great too.

    Everyone talking about whether the molerats are humans or not is completely missing the point. Murder are torture are bad because they cause pain in the victim and those who feel empathy for them (for example close relatives). The rats are intelligent and feel pain no less than you do; hence, killing them is an atrocity.

    “Human” has nothing to do with it. It’s just a slogan.

  10. Kurogane Shiroikaze Said,

    March 24, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

    Not watching a show because “characters die lolwtf” is a shitty reason to judge it. I get your point that killing characters for lulz is bad, but Shin Sekai Yori does not kill characters “as an awkward attempt at shock value”.

    Also, I purposely chose “dystopian utopia” to characterize the world of Shin Sekai Yori for a good reason.

  11. Someone Said,

    March 24, 2013 @ 7:50 pm

    Great post. Probably the best series I have seen for a while.

    Even though I have been visiting your blog for quite some time now I never got the impression that you really appreciated the more “serious” side of anime that much. Since the majority of your post were about more lighthearted stuff. I stand corrected.

    Starting to think I might be a bit too judgemental on my internet travels.

  12. Kurogane Shiroikaze Said,

    March 24, 2013 @ 7:53 pm

    I don’t blame you because I rarely want to post about “serious” anime as I feel I’ll never be able to capture what I mean in writing properly.

    Also, I feel lazy to get in to internet arguments so a show must be really goddamned good that I’ll take the effort and risk to post about it. Shin Sekai Yori is one such show.

  13. SnooSnoo Said,

    March 24, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

    The same kind of excuse people use when Ga Rei Zero did it. And that was truly trying to troll people with fake main characters (preview posters and all). I don’t even remember Reiko at all rofl.

  14. Skribulous Said,

    March 24, 2013 @ 9:36 pm

    @Troggy Hordesman:

    Do you post your comments here just to be a douche? Really?

    There was no bait and switch involved. It was all foreshadowed if you cared to pay attention. You did say you dropped it at episode 1, so that might be understandable… but for someone who never followed the series, you sure have strong personal opinions about the whole show.

    Also, comparing it to Shiki? Lolwut?

  15. TheVoid Said,

    March 24, 2013 @ 10:37 pm

    Maybe in another life Yakomaru will learn not to wipe out all the other Queerats that have different opinions/beliefs than him. Then he won’t make a enemy of a Queerat who will want to stop him.

  16. niko Said,

    March 25, 2013 @ 5:06 am

    Heh heh,
    and out of nowhere, one of the best shows pops up on Kurogane’s blog after it’s finished. It’s like the “best shows of 2012” post, when suddenly many of my favorite shows of that year showed up. I also understand, why you don’t contiually blog about them.

    I have been looking forward to every episode of this show and it just got better and better with every arc. It’s too bad the BD sales in Japan seem to be really low (like 500/volume low), this show deserved much better.

  17. PS Said,

    March 25, 2013 @ 10:47 am

    I couldnt agree any more calling the shinsekai world a dystopian utopia, I think it describes it perfectly. I finished watching it a few hours ago, and this is one of the few animes which has a great story all the way through the series. I usually hate endings cuz they usually ruin the stories, but, on the contrary, I got a feeling of completeness from this one, that every single detail fitted perfectly into the story giving it great clossure. Although, i’m still sad it ended…

    Oh, and by the way, I dont think that a person who’s seen only the first few chapters has the right to critisize the story, and besides, it was not ‘a cat’ and definitely not for ‘shock value’, but anyway, how would someone who’s only seen a tiny puzzle piece know about the great master piece it makes.

  18. angeluslvl99 Said,

    March 25, 2013 @ 1:34 pm

    really good anime I also believe…. :)
    the story is great
    pacing a little slow…
    but works like wonder
    xD

  19. iukilop Said,

    March 25, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

    too bad sales for this flopped horrifically. i wonder if peeps will remember this in 5 or 10 years. i know the otaku won’t

  20. anise_punter Said,

    March 26, 2013 @ 9:18 am

    Were we watching the same show here? The one where they were intentionally, frustratingly vague for like the first 14 episodes and there was never any sort of payoff? The one where they tried to make the show about a band of five, but they never bothered to make one give two craps about Maria or Mamoru?

    If they had just gone with the one arc in the adult years it might have been alright. Instead we got 12 episodes of exposition that never went anywhere that they could have done in two. It’s not that hard to describe the false utopia they were living in.

    I was bored throughout the entirety of this series. How on earth did they make genocide so dull?

  21. Yozora Said,

    March 27, 2013 @ 12:52 am

    http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=zthwur&s=6
    These kittens made a happy ending,

  22. omo Said,

    March 29, 2013 @ 1:22 am

    Reading your blog’s comments makes me remember that humanity is in decline.

    Shinsekai Yori, tho, nice anime. perfect Haikasoru license bait (although as said, Vertical is closer to the source, which is just as good).

  23. Kurogane Shiroikaze Said,

    March 29, 2013 @ 1:25 am

    Yeah, I would totally expect a Haikasoru imprint of the novel, but it seems to be a pretty daunting task any how.

  24. ahelo Said,

    March 29, 2013 @ 10:07 pm

    Wow, I really love this post (and Shin Sekai Yori).

    Damn you are one hell of a correct guy when you say that Shin Sekai Yori is a “food for thought” anime. I haven’t been this boggled by an anime for a long time. Shin Sekai Yori blurs the line between what truly is good and what truly is evil. No side is completely correct yet no side is completely wrong. The series emphasized on this heavily in the last parts.

    Damn just damn. I completely vouch for Kurogane here. Guys, please watch this series.

  25. feannatar Said,

    May 2, 2013 @ 2:11 am

    I wholeheartedly agree with you Kurogane on this show. After the first ep. I was like WTF?!, but Dvořák’s Largo (and the hinted story) rose my interest enough to keep me going. I’m glad I followed through. This is indeed a rare gem, you don’t see many anime series of this quality nowadays.

    Also, I think the Largo from New World Symphony will be always reminding me of this anime from now on. It’s such a strong melody and it’s a perfect fit for this anime, just as Strauss’ Thus Spoke Zarathustra is a perfect fit for 2001: Space Odyssey. It sets the mood perfectly. It captured me perfectly. Well done, director!

  26. AG Said,

    June 26, 2013 @ 8:47 am

    One thing I don’t get though, no matter how much I ponder on it. You know how Maria’s child, who thought they were a queerat and later died from the death feedback from killing Kiroumaru? There’s something that doesn’t make sense. In the war between Yakomaru’s Robber Fly clan and Kiroumaru’s Giant Hornet clan, if it was Maria’s Child who used cantus and killed them, how come she didn’t die then and there from the death feedback? I mean she could have taken their weapons from them but they were also mutilated and Kiroumaru himself said he saw the monster on the field.

    Can anyone explain?

  27. sqa Said,

    June 26, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

    The child only disarmed them/their weapons. Once weapon-less, Squealer’s forces just cleaned up.

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